Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School




Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Victoria Banyard


This project investigated how college students describe bystander intervention in the context of sexual violence and relationship abuse compared to intervention in a general helping situation. The participants were 53 undergraduate students at a New England University. Prior to graduation, all of the participants were asked questions via audio controlled, face-to-face qualitative interviews that related to their helping behaviors during their time in college. The participant responses revealed that general helping is often a simple, one-time event if time permits it. However, helping in the context of sexual violence or relationship abuse revealed many serious barriers for the bystander due to the complex nature of the situations. An updated model of intervention that takes this type of help into consideration is suggested in order to provide a schema for those who step in and help in a situation involving sexual violence or relationship abuse.